AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday that the Obama administration is “absolutely” ready for the U.S. economy to go over the “fiscal cliff” rather than accept a budget deal that doesn’t include higher tax rates for top earners.
Geithner said the administration thinks budget deficits are so large that they can’t be closed without boosting tax rates on the highest-earning 2 percent of Americans. Most Republicans oppose higher rates for any taxpayers.
“There’s no prospect in an agreement that doesn’t involve those rates going up on the top 2 percent of the wealthiest Americans,” Geithner said in an interview on CNBC.
Geithner’s comments immediately drew fire from a top Republican senator.
“This is one of the most stunning and irresponsible statements I’ve heard in some time,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch. “Going over the fiscal cliff will put our economy, jobs, people’s paychecks and retirement at risk, but that is what the White House wants, according to Secretary Geithner, if they don’t get their way.”
The fiscal cliff refers to the tax increases and deep spending cuts that will take effect in January unless Congress and the White House reach a budget deal first.
In the interview, Geithner also said the administration would reject a budget plan that didn’t include an increase in the federal borrowing limit. The current limit is expected to be reached either late this month or early next year.
“We are not prepared to have the American economy held hostage to periodic threats that Republicans will force the country to default on our obligations,” Geithner said. “That would be a terrible thing for the financial security of the average American, for businesses, for confidence around the world and the United States.”
Geithner said he still thinks progress is being made in the budget negotiations and that the outlines of an agreement are becoming clearer.
“They look inevitable,” he said.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food